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Carved wooden birds at Woodland Arts

These carvings of birds were made for ‘Woodland Arts’, an exhibition in Leigh Woods, Bristol in 2017. I like making new pieces to show in events like this one. Although it can be time consuming, it always gives an opportunity to explore themes that interest me but perhaps haven’t come up in my commission work.

I hadn’t carved a bird sculpture for quite a while, and the woodland setting for the show seemed to make them an ideal subject. Kestrels (as above) and nuthatches (shown below, poised to run down a tree trunk as they do) are both birds that interest me and that live around these woods, so they were the ones chosen.

Carved wooden nuthatch

For the bodies of each bird, I used European larch timber. These were timber offcuts from companies that share the area that my workshop is in. Larch isn’t particularly easy to carve with traditional hand tools, no matter how sharp they are, so much of the work was done with abrasive discs fitted to angle grinders.

woodcarving using power tools

This also gave the carvings a smoother, slightly abstract feel which I really like.

Nuthatch bird wood carving

The pale wood in the kestrel’s beak is hornbeam, taken out during building work at Bristol’s Southmead hospital.

The dark wood used for the eyes and the beaks is a bit of Bristol’s heritage. It is a timber called greenheart, from offcuts which were given to me by a furniture maker friend named Jim Sharples. Jim had made a large bench to be placed near Bristol’s ‘Mshed‘, using wood from the old North Junction lock gates which led from Bristol Harbour to the Avon Gorge and then the sea. The huge trunk of tough African greenheart wood lay on the top of the old gates, to protect them from bumps by ship’s hulls. It was removed when the gates, which were fitted in the nineteenth century, were recently replaced. These small bits of wood are really pieces of Bristol’s maritime history.

mythic garden dartmoor 2004

‘The Mythic Garden’, Dartmoor, Devon 2004

The is the single exhibition to date where I have only shown only stone carvings. The venue for the Mythic Garden was stunning: a large garden on the edge of the high moors that houses the national collections of birch and alder trees. Artworks were dotted throughout the space, so there was plenty of room around each one and a wide variety of possible locations to site pieces.

 

dsc03173

 

I don’t carve stone that often: to be honest, working with wood is really where I’m happiest. It was an interesting change though and I’m very grateful to have had the chance to put work into this lovely spot.

 

Galatea

metainsecta at centrespace gallery

‘Metainsecta’ at the Centrespace Gallery, Bristol

This exhibition is perhaps closest to my heart as I initiated the whole thing, was the main organiser and exhibited with fourteen other artists. It was a success, with approximately 700 visitors in 6 days! It took two years to gather all of the exhibitors together and, when we opened in August 2008, they had created some really interesting and thought-provoking work. The group went on to show twice again, with some lineup changes, at ‘Meta anatomica’ and ‘Metamarine’.

 

'Metainsecta' Centrespace gallery Bristol

Rose sanderson artist
Illustrations by Rose Sanderson
Liz krcma ceramics
Ceramics by Liz Krčma
Bristol museum and art gallery

Bristol City Museum and Art Gallery

After the success of the ‘Metainsecta‘ exhibition in 2008, some of the group were invited to show their work in the beautiful Bristol museum. It was the ideal venue, surrounded by mahogany cases containing taxidermied specimens that were often over a hundred years old.

 

Bristol museum metainsecta

 

I’d love to show the Metainsecta series in a similar venue again one day. It seems to suit them very well.

Royal Birmingham Society of Artists Open 2010

Royal Birmingham Society of Artists Open Exhibition

In 2010, I was accepted to show in the RBSA Open exhibition. It was good to go back to a city that I know well and to show my work there. The society is also based in the Jewellery Quarter, a very historic and beautiful part of Birmingham and one of the last real trades quarters left in Britain. Almost everything around is connected to the jewellery making trade: assayers, tool suppliers and workshops as well as the jewellery college. It’s a lovely place to go for a wander!

 

RBSA Open

 

Walcot Chapel, Bath

‘Meta Anatomica’ at the Walcot Chapel in Bath

This exhibition could not have been held in a more appropriate location! The Walcot Chapel was once a mortuary chapel and is surrounded by a graveyard, so was the perfect venue for an exhibition about anatomy. In June 2011, the group reassembled to examine anatomical subjects with the same eclectic range of media and approaches as before.

 

meta anatomica

 

Sadly it was the last of the ‘Meta…’ shows, partly due to the illness and subsequent passing of the ceramicist Liz Krčma who had been an organiser, exhibitor and important contributor to the exhibitions since the first show.